Readfessions of a Reading Specialist



Nothing But the Truth!

Welcome to Readfessions of a Reading Specialist.

Just some quick & clean happenings from my reading world.

Readfession #1: My readers love their reading journals!

This year I decided that I would utilize reading journals (again). I’ve used them in the past, but about two years ago our school started providing an iPad for each learner so reading journals have been on the back burner. I was excited to introduce them  and it’s funny how pumped my students get when I tell them that we are writing in their journals!

My readers decorated the front cover and then together we added some standard pages and some anchor charts. Throughout the year the journals will be used for responses from explicit instruction and for responses to independent reading. The reading journals serve as a great tool for formative assessment and a way to track progress.

Readfession #2:   I love Scholastic’s new resource, Storyworks Jr. 

This summer I attended the Scholastic Reading Summit. It was a great one day conference that was jam-packed with exciting books, awesome keynote speakers, and fabulous sessions. Oh, and need I mention, I had some great colleagues attend the conference too! (You can read about it here!)

Anyway, the point is that during the conference Scholastic was promoting its brand new multi-genre resource, STORYWORKS Jr. Since I love STORYWORKS, I knew STORYWORKS Jr. would be perfect for the group of readers I instruct. I purchased a subscription and I couldn’t be any happier. The online resources includes lesson plans, videos, audio recordings, and multi-level versions of the story. I love the reading selections and so do my students. It’s a reading win-win for me. It’s a reading win-win for my readers!


Readfession #3: Independent reading is a huge success!

You know what Dr. Seuss says:

The more you read, the more you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!

Well, my readers are going places! Independent reading has gone to a whole new level this year. I’ve always made it a priority, but again after attending the Scholastic Reading Summit, I just knew I had to push more this year. And pushing I am! I cannot emphasize enough the power of the book talk. If I read the book, they want to read it. If I talk about the book, they want to read. I am truly amazed how simple yet powerful book talking is. My worry, I can’t read the books fast enough and I’m afraid I’m going to run out of books!  I’m stocking my room with books that I purchase, books from the school library, books from the public library, and most recently, e-books for my Kindles.

We’ve also been utilizing “book bins” this year and they too are quite powerful. It’s not enough for me to ask, “What are you reading now?” I also am asking, “What are you reading next?” or “What book(s) are in your book bin?” Visit Franki Sibberson’s blog to read more about book bins.

Book bins=powerful reading!

Readfession #4: I am busy reading too!

Here’s what’s on my short stack:

  • Finished: Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • Reading Now: Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
  • Up Next: Wish by Barbara O’Connor
  • In the Bin: Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen

my short stack

Well, that’s a wrap of readfessions for this reading specialist!

Until next time,




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goodbye, hello


goodbye to a fun-filled summer vacation,

hello to the hustle and bustle of school days jam-packed with learning.

goodbye to Maddie once more,

hello to her junior year at college.

goodbye to the ARC ten miler race,

hello to Hershey 1/2 marathon training.

goodbye to our family vacation by the lake,

hello to a beach get-a-way for just the two of us.

goodbye to the fireflies lighting up the night sky,

hello to the cicadas singing in the trees above.

goodbye to summer reading of nine ten, riding freedom, and booked,

hello to the thing about jellyfish, moo, and because of winn-dixie.

goodbye to you again as i start the school year without you here,

hello to the memories we shared and your words that echo in my ears.

goodbye to the sizzling days of the august summer,

hello to the crisp days of september and fall.


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On My Radar

This week in celebrating what’s on my radar of life!

On my running radar:

I will finish week #5 of the training plan for my upcoming 10 miler race, which is on August 27th. My week will round out with me running a total 20 miles in the heat and humidity.  Hopefully, Sunday will be cooler for my 8 mile long run. I can honestly say the temperatures are crushing my pace, but I’ll continue to push through. I am happy though that I ran a 4 miler this week and did break through the brick wall of heat. I also got in some cross-training this week of Yoga, BODYFLOW, BODYPUMP, and CXWORX.


breaking the brick wall

On my reading radar:

You know it’s a great book when I finish it *fast*, since I’m the world’s slowest reader! Last week I finished Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It is geared toward the young adult reader and reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. In fact, I liked Yoon’s book more so than Green’s. This week I’ll be wrapping up to I Will Always Write Back by Alifirenka & Ganda. It’s a compelling true story of a friendship from two different worlds. It’s an awe inspiring memoir that truly makes me appreciate the simple things of my life.


two must reads

On my rockin’ mom radar:

The countdown is on! Maddie’s summer here at home is quickly coming to a halt – only one more week before she’s back at school. We have been busy shopping for her first-time apartment. I’m enjoying our time together shopping and the time we’ve been spending together at the gym. She’s a great workout buddy too!


yoga buddies

And that’s a wrap for this runner, reader, and rockin’ mom!



 Join in each Saturday for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.
It’s a time to celebrate the joy!

If It’s June…

If it’s June that means….

a time to enjoy the beautiful, blooming peonies and their scent that fills the air. An ounce of splendor both inside and outside my home.


perfect peonies

If it’s June that means…
a time to enjoy fresh, local produce. Strawberries to be savored and raspberries you can’t resist!

summer strawberries

It it’s June that means…

a time to read, read, read! Just a few books to kick off my summer reading list. What’s on your summer reading list?


best books

If it’s June that means…

a time to cheer on my favorite IRONMAN triathlete. 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running along the scenic landscape of the eastern shore in Cambridge, Maryland.

triathlon training

If it’s June that means…
a time to get my exercise regiment back into full swing. May just seemed to slip away. Maybe I needed the break, but now I will except no excuses!

believe, achieve

If it’s June, what does that mean for you?


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you’re invited to a read-along!

Please join me for a read-along!

What’s a read-along and how does it work you ask?

Well, it’s quite simple and it’s quite easy!


Starting this week I’m reading the book Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan along with some other tweeps. We read at our own pace and as we read we will be sharing tweets about the book. We’re also going to be including the author when we tweet. It’s always F.U.N. when we get a “like” or a reply from the author!  The tweets are about meaningful moments in the book, reactions to book, parts of the book that stir up emotions, wise words, quotes, or just about anything we want to share.

I’ll be reading the book with a small group of six of students and will be using a “tweet sheet” to jot down our tweets. Since my students aren’t on Twitter, I’ll post the tweets from the tweet sheet in my room.  Then I’ll post my tweets and some of their tweets to @iRuniRead. And, I’ll be using the hashtag #booktweeps.

Any tweet will work! It basically works like this:

read along, tweet along, be a #booktweep

Here’s what you need to do to get started:

  1. Grab a copy of the book Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. It is available in hardcover or Kindle.
  2. Decide how you want to read-along: as an individual, with a small group of students, with your whole class. I’m going to be reading along with a small group of students.
  3. Read the book at your pace.
  4. Tweet about the book to #booktweeps
  5. If you would like, add the hashtags #Echo and follow Pam Munoz Ryan on Twitter.
  6. Join in on the F.U.N. because #booktweeps for #Echo begins now, but you can join at any time!

Last but not least, a special thanks to

 @HartmansRoomGr4 and @dad2ella

for hosting #booktweeps.


Slice of Life

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Two Writing Teachers

Join in and share a slice of your life!